Given that projects can move quickly, it’s up to project managers to maintain effective communication. Learning how to keep project meeting minutes is one of the essential skills necessary of any project.
Project meeting minutes might need to be referenced well after the meeting was over. Keeping complete project meeting summaries can help solve common pitfalls and roadblocks many project teams face.
Purpose of keeping meeting minutes
Keeping minutes enables the project participants to follow the detailed history of decision-making throughout the project cycle.
With well-kept project meeting minutes,
- Project leaders can quickly review decisions, assignments, and milestones and disseminate that information to all stakeholders.
- Project stakeholders gain higher visibility into the project even if they aren’t directly involved.
- Individual contributors on a project can reference well-organized conversation topics and assigned tasks.
Who should keep meeting minutes?
It is the project leader’s role to ensure project meeting minutes are kept, but should project managers personally take project minutes? It depends on the size of the organization and the project team.
In larger teams, the project leader may delegate this duty to a specified note-keeper. This person might also play the role of timekeeper, ensuring that meetings move efficiently. Clear expectations should be shared between the project leader and the minutes keeper–including potential questions from stakeholders.
Other times, it is best for the project leader to keep the minutes since they are driving the conversation and acting as the keystone between individual contributors and stakeholders. A note-keeper might miss some of the details that the project leader wants to include, and it may be in the best interest of the team to have all meeting attendees focused on the conversation at hand.
Some project meeting tools, like Docket, ensure that project minutes are kept and stored automatically. This allows ample time for everyone in the meeting to stay focused on the issues being discussed. Through a simpler or automated process, members will provide more insight into the topics and facilitate a more successful completion of the project.
What to include and what to leave out
How do you keep meeting minutes? What should you include in the minutes? At a minimum, meeting minutes should include:
- Names of those in attendance
- Names of those invited but absent
- Date and time of the meeting
- Location (if the meeting is taking place virtually, note that too!)
The minutes should detail all topics discussed, all decisions made as well as any next steps, and the persons to whom they were assigned.
The minutes may also include a recap of the items that were discussed in the previous meeting. It often comes down to organizational expectations and workflow processes that decide how detailed meeting minutes should be. The essential thing is to ensure that the results of the meeting are reported and detailed enough to provide sufficient reference in the future.
The purpose of minutes of a meeting is to provide project managers with information that can be used in current and future decision-making processes. Therefore, this calls for the project managers to ensure that the project minutes are as detailed as possible.